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11
Nov 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

How to avoid harassment in the workplace

The recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein n the US have created somewhat of a snowball effect worldwide with thousands of women and men speaking out about their accounts of sexual harassment and assault, many of them being work related. Allegations involving high profile individuals and people in authority have demonstrated just how widespread a problem this has become across all industries and professions and has exposed a sinister culture of silence, fear and acceptance which we must now turn on its head.

The Employment Equality Acts clearly defines sexual harassment as: forms of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.

It is important for employers to ensure that harassment will not be tolerated and to portray this to their employees and clients. Employers are therefore compelled to take steps to ensure a harassment-free work environment. Effectively, organisations must set down clearly defined procedures to deal with all forms of harassment including sexual harassment.

There are a number of steps an employer can take to help prevent this type of behavior from occurring in the workplace:

A Bullying and Harassment policy 

  • to protect the dignity of employees and to encourage respect in the workplace

An Equal Opportunities policy 

  • to create a workplace which provides for Equal Opportunities for all staff

A Whistle-blowing policy 

  • to enable staff to voice concerns in a responsible and effective manner.

Transparent and fair procedures throughout 

Disciplinary action

  • A sanction that is appropriate for the level of alleged harassment – to help try and change the culture of silence that has allowed harassment to become normal and protected.

Provision of on-going training 

  • At all levels within organisation

Bright Contracts has a fully customisable Staff Handbook, which includes a Bullying and Harassment Policy and also an Equality Policy and Whistleblowing Policy.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company handbook, Discrimination, Dismissals, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

6
Feb 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Workplace Bullying in Ireland amongst the highest in Europe

Newly published research places Ireland as the 7th worst EU country for workplace bullying. The research, conducted by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, also found that Ireland rated highly for cases of physical violence and sexual harassment.

According to the research approximately 6% of European workers have been victims of some form of bullying, whether it is verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual harassment over the last 12 months.

Speaking in response to the finding SIPTU’s Tom O’Driscoll has commented that SIPTU, at any given time could have “over one hundred (bullying cases)”. He said, “bullying mainly comes from managers or those in positions of power but can be colleague on colleague.”

Workplace bullying can have an extremely disruptive effect not only on an individual’s performance at work but also on their home-life and their psychological wellbeing.

Employers need to be vigilant in this area, and take proactive steps to remove bullying from their workplaces. This will include:

  • Having robust bullying and harassment policies and procedures in place
  • Taking all complaints of bullying or harassment seriously, taking appropriate action
  • Acting immediately if bullying or harassment is suspected in the workplace – not procrastinating
  • Training all managers fully on managing employees

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Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company handbook, Employment Contract

25
Nov 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Employer Successfully Defends Bullying Claim

Ryanair has successfully defended a claim at the Employment Appeals Tribunal from a former flight attendant, Brian Butler, who claimed he had been bullied by a supervisor.

Mr Butler had claimed that the bullying was to such an extent that he often became nervous, apprehensive and unwell, to the point of being physically sick. The Claimant did raise his concerns informally but because he felt they were not being dealt with fast enough, he decided to resign from his post. The tribunal heard that having submitted his notice Mr Butler went off on sick leave, citing an ear ache.

The tribunal found that although Mr Butler was aware of the Company’s grievance procedure he had not formally raised his issue via the process available to him; he then left the Company before they had an opportunity to address his issues.

Lessons Learnt

This case shows the importance of having a grievance procedure in place and of ensuring all staff are aware of it.

A grievance procedure gives employees a forum to raise issues where they will be dealt with in a consistent, thorough and fair manner.

With no grievance procedure in place an employee has a much greater chance of bringing a successful claim against a company because there was no recourse to raise their compliant internally.

In this case Ryanair’s policies and procedures protected them from what could have been an extremely expensive case.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company handbook, Contract of employment